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6 ways to channel spring with your kids

Tips on bringing the sunshine inside

If I told you spring arrives this month would you believe me?

I checked the calendar and March 20th makes it official, but I’m not so sure. All my years as a North Dakotan have taught me not to rely on spring until at least July 4th.

This might be especially true this year. Because man, was February brutal to us. With 7,000 consecutive days of sub-zero temperatures and a 45 minute drive to civilization, it seems my favorite past time with my two young daughters has been catching viruses and taking trips to the doctor for antibiotics.

But as a mom to a three year old, it’s been interesting to see how she has been noticing and interpreting this seemingly endless season for the first time. Every time I drop the girls off at daycare, we drive by the outdoor pool, and the poor thing asks, “Why is the pool drained?”

And I answer, “Because it’s winter.”

Then she asks, “But why is it winter?”

And for that I have no answer except, “Because it is.”

Because it is.

And then she moves on to her favorite season fact: That spring arrives with the Easter Bunny.

I don’t have the heart to tell her that I’ve participated in too many egg hunts in my snowsuit to believe that theory.

But I doubt it would get her down too much. When you’re three, all you really need is an imagination and the right outfit. And so my girl has been thinking spring since the beginning of January, channeling it by digging out her flip flops and summer dresses and twirling about the house talking about beaches and sun and mermaids. And I gotta admit, I love her for bringing the sunshine, because when going outside means literally risking the skin on your face, I don’t feel we’ve had the proper chance to embrace winter.

So Edie’s antics and outfits have inspired us to embrace (or maybe summon?) spring.

Here’s what we’ve been up to. I invite you to try some of these tactics too while we wait for the snow to melt.

  1. Plant something green inside: I picked up these cute little farm animal grass planters at Menards and we had fun planting the seeds, watering them and watching them sprout and grow in the sunshine. And when the grass gets tall enough, we get to give the pig and the cow a little haircut. You can also just buy some vegetable seed packets and start your spring garden in an egg carton in a sunny spot. I think that’s our next move.
  2.  Make Real Snow Cones: After a fresh snow (which we had about daily in February) and after lunch, I scoop a bowl full of it from outside and squirt a little Kool-Aid or juice over the top and the girls dig in. It’s like a county fair in our kitchen.
  3. Have an indoor picnic: The girls got lunchboxes from their grandma for Valentines Day, which inspired me to pack them up a little sandwich and apple lunch (complete with a special juice box) and head downstairs to the basement for a picnic on a blanket in front of their little play tent. It was a good way to practice our pretend skills. Where else but in a child’s imagination can you climb a mountain in North Dakota after lunch?
  4. Go swimming in the bathtub: There’s something a little more magical about a regular old bath when you put on a swimsuit and pull on the goggles. Add a few new floaty toys, a beach ball or water wings and you’ll sell any kid on the idea of a bathtub pool party.
  5. Make a suncatcher: Edie’s always curious about they sky. Where the sun goes when it’s behind the clouds. Why the moon is big and then it’s small. Making a little suncatcher is a great way to celebrate the warmth of the sun, and there’s lots of fun ways to do it. It can be as simple as cutting up tissue paper and sticking it to Con-Tact Paper or as messy and fun as melting crayons on wax paper and displaying them in Mason jar lids. Just do a quick search on Pinterest of Google and you’re on your way.
  6. Buy some flowers: It’s simple but it sure brightens up a room and serves as a sweet reminder that summer days, filled with sunscreen, bug spray and plastic backyard pools are right around the corner. You got this Prairie Parents! Until then, see you at the indoor pool.

Written by Jessie Veeder

Jessie Veeder

Jessie is a singer/songwriter/writer and statewide columnist living on her family’s ranch near Watford City with her husband and daughter. She blogs at veederranch.com . Reach her at jessieveeder@gmail.com. (facebook.com/veederranch)

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